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Transcendent, Indeed

What I have learned is that true friendship transcends race, gender, age, sexual orientation, socio-economic status and a host of other artificial constructs that prohibit people from allowing others into their lives. Stepping outside my comfort-zone has rewarded me with some very special people that I am proud to call my friends.

Sacrificing the known for the adventure of living abroad, I have discovered wonderful allies in four Iraqis. One was my roommate for a while. Two others, I traveled with on a weekend excursions around the Persian Gulf. I’ve entertained Israelis in my home.  My computer doctor is a Palestinian. I’ve traveled and done business with a Kenyan girlfriend who treats me like a sister. I have broken bread with Sudanese and Rwandans and Ugandans that I never would have met at home. One of my closest friends and trekking buddies is Iranian. Who would’a thunk the gangly chick from East Saint Louis, IL would be Skyping compatriots all over the planet?

Though the Iraqi guys and gals and I frequently exchanged barbs about our nations’ current conflict, the overriding factor betwixt us is that we are all humans, passionate about life. Yes, we are from vastly different cultures and religions and a bunch of other stuff, but our similarities outweigh our differences and our respect for each other make the differences negligible.

Through this cornucopia of Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, atheists, homosexuals, homophobes, pro-lifers and pro-choicers, I’ve learned so much more about my self. More importantly, I learned about myself without losing the essence of who I am. It’s important to have a strong sense of self, lest we get swept away into a potentially unhealthy group-think and find ourselves trying so hard to belong, that we relinquish our own identity.

We are all multi-faceted, but sometimes we limit which attributes of ourselves that we explore for fear of offending or raising the eyebrow of peers. I believe we should embrace our unique characteristics. We should not allow ourselves to be discouraged by ‘circumstance’ from investigating the interesting parts of ourselves and growing. We have many, many peers outside our current sphere. Step outside and check them out. Reach out with respect and sincerity and a desire to learn. You’ll be so pleased at how they will enrich your life.

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Old Lady Needs Glasses

The following report just came from my Persian friend that lives in Ottawa, Canada:

I was on my usual evening walk last night, when two speeding police cars with bright white lights came and busted me by mistake for someone who had been breaking into cars! An old lady had called them. There were no lights on the street!
The alpha policeman opened his car door and said can I talk to you. I walked up with a dumb smile and said sure. He asked if I have ever been in trouble with the law and I said no. He said can I see some ID, I said sure and gave him my wallet, he said take it out and I did. He went inside the car and cam out in a few minutes and he said you can go sir, thank you.
So off I went on my way home, when another police car stopped me again, so I went to him and asked what did I do now, I just walked 50 yards on this straight sidewalk, he said my partner has more questions for you. It turned out that the old lady had "positively identified me for being there for 3 nights". I told them I’ve lived in this city for 32 years and tonight is the first time I walked on this road, ever.
Then when all the cop cars were in one place and people had come out on their porches to watch, traffic was being stopped, they made me empty my pockets on the hood of the car, lean on it as they body searched me. Then they said I was "clear".
Then they looked at my iPod and asked what was the last song you listened to? What make is your iPod, I said apple, like all the other ones. I have the receipt at home. I was so nervous I couldn’t remember the last Persian classic title. Then they looked at my ID for a second time and asked where I was born.
Because I couldn’t sleep all night, I went to the police station by bus early this morning and talked with their chief. (The old lady) had lied to them about going out in her car to see me under the headlights. I told the police last night that only two cars passed here while I was walking, your two police cars. Why would I be eating sunflower seeds as I steal a car? There was a pack in my pocket.
Also, if I was going to steal a car I would put on running shoes, not dress shoes, in case I have to run. And there is a Mercedes in our driveway at home one street up from here, why would I be looking in some old lady’s car, would I not be stealing at least a Porsche or something?
It turned out the lady was not reliable and had withdrawn her positively identified claim and had made up other things. Too much TV watching does that to some people I guess. Anyhow, I am no longer a suspect.
I won’t be walking on that road again!
People are going nuts I tell you.

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Back in the Jing Again

Have you ever entered a room, flipped on the light switch only to see the room grow darker? It’s a fairly typical phenomenon that Chinese light-bulbs seem to suck the light from a room, then pretend to shine it back at you. I mean, corners that were illuminated before flipping the switch, mysteriously fade to black. I’ll never understand this shit!

Anyway, after donning goggles, helmet and safety boots for the walk, I reported to my new office today at Beijing’s spectacular new World Financial Center…

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